Kino Eye: Return to Afghanistan

Submitted by AWL on 7 September, 2021 - 5:30 Author: John Cunningham

Directed by the Iranian Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Kandahar (2001) is partly based on the real life story of Nabfer Pazira, who appears in the film as the main character, Nafas.

As a child Nafas escapes Afghanistan, eventually settling in Canada where she becomes a journalist. Her sister remained in Afghanistan, in Kandahar, and has lost both limbs after stepping on a landmine.

Nafas leaves Canada and travels to the Afghan border after receiving a letter from her sister, who is suicidal. Clad in a burqa Nafas crosses the border into Afghanistan along with a group of former refugees who are trying to return to their homeland. She sees the damage wrought by the Taliban, and particularly the effect of their regime on women.

At one point Nafas falls ill and is examined by a doctor through a small hole in a curtain. Under the Taliban rules he cannot touch her or look at her properly. The group of returnees she has attached herself to are robbed and they decide to turn round and leave Afghanistan. Nafas is determined to carry on. The film ends with Kandahar in sight.

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